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They May not Commit...

...Nevertheless, they want to see what it is like.

There has been a lot of talk about early commits and how other schools have been trying to catch up to what USC has accomplished on the recruiting trails the past few years. SC can't land every recruit it goes after and even bumps in the road like the loss to ucla last season will sway players to look a little closer about where they want to go. I have always said that a little competition is what keeps you sharp, I see it in business everyday.

Pete Carroll's record in the recruiting wars is now the stuff of legend. As much as he is mocked, his results stand-alone and while an MNC is not always delivered he is right there in the hunt year in and year out. A lot has been made of Pete Carroll's pro career, obviously, it hasn't always been positive but he understands the pros and he has done a great job at preparing his players to make the jump in the NFL. Not every player heeds his advice and not all former SC players have successful NFL careers but make no mistake there are very few if any other players that are as prepared for the rigors of the NFL than those who have played under Pete Carroll.

ESPN/Scouts Inc. Tom Luginbill saw first hand why ($)

I have seen many camps over the years -- from full-contact individual instruction camps to 7-on-7 passing tournament camps -- and all have their strong points depending on what the attendees are looking to get out of the experience, but I have never experienced a camp like this one. The more I watched it, the more impressive it became.

Roughly 250 campers took part in meetings, drills and practice sessions at USC's campus, and each came away with a very accurate view of what day-to-day life as a Trojan football player would be like, whether they ever don the uniform or not.

I would agree that regardless where a player ends up SC is all about winning and these kids want to see just how it is done. Of course, SC also uses their Rising Stars Camp to try and sway those who have committed elsewhere to change their minds and come USC. Those who have committed elsewhere simply come to keep their options open, like Patrick Johnson.

Miami commit Patrick Johnson, (Pompano Beach, Fla.- Ely) our No. 1-rated cornerback, made a surprise appearance the second day and was as advertised. He is big, strong, can run and was the cream of the crop of this group. Johnson made the trip from south Florida to southern California to participate in the camp for one day, and obviously if you do that, you are keeping your options open. Johnson has the ability to become an elite player quickly in a class that does not feature a ton of true corners.

I do not think that Johnson is out of the picture with USC, though he did reaffirm his commitment to the U, so there is still a lot of time before signing day.

From USC Scout's Brian Matthews:

"It was actually my father's decision," said Johnson when asked how he arrived at the camp. "He wanted me to come out here and check USC out, and I had a wonderful experience. I got to go up against some new guys and some new competition, which was cool. I love it out here."

It may not have been Johnson's decision to attend the Rising Stars Camp, but it is safe to say that his time spent in Los Angeles was worth the long trip. Johnson, who will now have time to reflect upon his most recent unofficial visit, had some interesting things to say regarding his trip to the west coast.

"Oh yeah!" Johnson said emphatically when asked whether the trip exceeded his own lofty expectations. "Oh my God yeah! This was better then anything I could've expected, it was through the roof."

Johnson, who left USC with a scholarship offer in hand Friday, admitted that the interest in USC has been there all along. Johnson's interest in the Trojans leading up to the camp may have been lukewarm, but following an impressive performance Friday, that has changed rapidly.

"I've always considered USC," Johnson said. "I love their style of football and how they get after the quarterback. They just make plays all over the field, and that is my style of football. This camp definitely put my interest up a lot."

The recent trip to Los Angeles has given the five-star standout plenty to think about, including his current commitment to the Hurricanes of Miami.

I think we are still in the race for Johnson.

The point in all this is that SC wants potential recruits to see how it going to be. If they think they can handle it and if they want the opportunity to compete then...welcome aboard! If not, then good luck. It's not for everyone, but those who make the commitment are sure to get the chance to show their stuff and when they do a lot people will be watching.

It's just one more reason why Pete Carroll is far and away the best recruiter out there.